The best kind of performance reviews are positive experiences that drive an even higher performance. Nevertheless, creating this sort of atmosphere is easier said than done.
Performance management is in a constant state of evolution, and even though the traditional annual review is still useful in many ways, it’s definitely not enough to keep up with the pace of the modern workplace.
Here are 8 useful recommendations to get you started.
Change your mindset
The first step you need to take is shifting your mindset from judge to coach. It’s easy to take off as an evaluator, however this approach might make your team members feel like they’re on a trial rather than embracing the learning experience.
It’s important for you to show that you’re on the same team, and that it’s in everyone’s interest for them to progress. Your goal should be to help each of your team members, which in turn allows your company to win.
Keep it regular
When performance is discussed only once a year, there’s a lot of room for anxiety and suspense to build up. These conversations tend to feel more tense because they are so rarely practiced.
Ongoing performance reviews, on the other hand, shift this perspective forward. Managers are able to coach performance at a closer level, monitoring motivation, adjusting goals and recognising employees in real-time. This creates a positive atmosphere for both managers and employees to thrive.
Share your notes
Walking into a really important conversation blindly creates unnecessary tension. For this reason, set everyone up for a more effective discussion by sharing any notes beforehand. Like that you can both enter the meeting on the same page, making the most out of the time available.
Notes may include any data points you’re interested in reviewing, events or topics you’d like to discuss, any questions you might have as well as any additional requests related to that particular team member’s performance.
Ask the right questions
Asking the right questions at the right time is key. The right questions will help you remain focused on the topics that actually matter, whilst encouraging genuine feedback.
A couple of staple ‘go-to’ questions include:
- What are your goals for the next quarter?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of from last quarter?
- What are your development goals for the next 2 quarters?
- In which way can I improve as your manager?
Team leaders aren’t the only ones with visibility at work. As a matter of fact, there’s a bigger chance that another employee is able to identify an issue at their level rather than a manager. For this reason, getting all-round feedback ensures that any review is not one-sided.
It’s also a great idea to share peer feedback with other team members before a performance appraisal. This gives them enough time to reflect and request clarification beforehand.
There shouldn’t be anything shady about performance reviews, and your team members should be aware of which ways their performance will be measured. It is your responsibility to provide clarity around each team member’s role and relevant contribution to the organisation.
Also, should your company make use of any particular metrics, then you should always be transparent about this and offer information about what these mean and what ratings they’ve received.
Possibly the most important tip of them all is owning your next steps. Without a clear indication of what happens next, any performance discussions feel unfinished.
If you’re committed to ensuring your review actually improves performance, then you’re going to want to take the time to create a clear plan around what should happen next. Set clear goals and fixed deadlines and share the document so it’s always freely accessible.
Finally, think ahead and slot in some time for the next performance review right away. This shows that you’re committed to investing in your teams’ development and growth and that you’ll be following up on whatever was discussed today.
By being intentional, you’ll set the tone that this practice will be carried out regularly throughout the year.